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ZooDad
Interests: thinking, reading, gathering and sharing useful information, kingdom adventures, new expressions for kingdom gatherings
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Thanks for the honest interaction, Matthew, with my comment. I fully agree with your focus and interpretation. I also recognize the reality that one song, one line don't reflect the totality of one's thinking. Your statements provide a broader context for engaging with the song and seeing it outside of the (probably) unlikely rabbit trail of gnosticism.
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I appreciate the depth of emotion reflected here. It certainly challenges us to "seek first the Kingdom." I'm, however, a little concerned with the potential - for some - to use Matthew's lyrics as an excuse for a gnostic reaction to God's good creation: spirit = good, physical = bad. It's not always an either/or, though recognizing that the both/and needs to start with truly "seeing the Lord." Thoughts? http://rickcruse.wordpress.com
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Glad to hear from you and to learn a bit of your story. There's an interesting book my wife and I have found helpful (and that our adult kids kept stealing to read): When Bad Christians Happen to Good People. My wife suffered Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (from which she is now almost fully recovered after 7 years) as a result of our close contact to a community in which primary motivations were outward performance and conformity to a community norm (as opposed to Christlike norm). Bottom line: we are very capable of hurting others in Jesus' name.
Toggle Commented Jul 9, 2009 on When God's Promises Fail - 1 at ZOO MUSE
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Thanks for the link to CPM. Challenging stuff.... Sadly, not widely (or, at all?) seen in North America. Happy 4th.
Toggle Commented Jul 4, 2009 on Discipleship Makes a Needed Comeback at ZOO MUSE
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I am thinking that many/most (?) followers of Jesus run their lives on the fumes left over from an initial (or periodic) encounter with Jesus. There is little of God's immanence (immediate presence) in their/our lives. Additionally, we mistake good citizenship and good morals for the supernatural transformation promised to thos who hunger and thirst for Jesus. While good citizenship and good morals are nice and important, they can flow from living in a still-somewhat-Christian culture rather than from a daily encounter with the living God.
Toggle Commented Jul 11, 2007 on Come to the Well at ZOO MUSE
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Thanks for your additional comments. Sounds like you've been hanging out with Dave DeVries! I am no win the throes of making the transition from cutting bait to fishing. What fun!
Toggle Commented Jul 6, 2007 on Pastoral Community or Missional? at ZOO MUSE
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My thoughts on your question(s) run in two tracks: First, Paul tells Timothy to pursue after righteousness, faithfulness, love and peace with all those who call on the Lord from a pure heart (2Ti 2:22). The youth group may not provide community (perhaps its too big, too generic?), but there may well be a few in the larger group who do long for this. They should identify who those are and initiate some conversations with them. Second, I do not think the biblical community is an age-specific one. The kind of community we should seek is one where all ages are represented, where older believers model the principles so the younger can learn. Where the younger ask questions in a safe context. Where people of all ages do life together. Perhaps your home could provide a context where that could happen. Thoughts? Rick
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Thanks for the insightful way of looking at yourself. And also for asking me about my own issuels of control. I feel I am doing well and benefiting (physically and spiritually) from saying "No" to myself in regards to matters which are entirely "lawful."
Toggle Commented Feb 27, 2007 on Rhythms at ZOO MUSE
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Lynn, your own obedience is an encouragement to me. Thanks.
Toggle Commented Feb 20, 2007 on Rhythms of Life at ZOO MUSE
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Thanks for your various comments. I do have some response: Keri: I would love to have more content relative to your comment. What sounds familiar? Is that a 'good' familiar or a 'here-he-goes-again' familiar? I would love it if you would add your thoughts to the 'more' you are looking forward to. Ross: yes, the material is from Jason Clark (www.jasonclark.ws). He often has good things to say. He's involved in a doctoral program, so much of his thinking gets reflected in his blog. There is nothing more exciting than hearing folks say, "This is where I see God at work in my world. Would you help me think through how to join my efforts to His?" Steve: thanks for the thought about where "self" fits. As I look at the diagram, I see the numbered areas as spheres of life or contexts. So, the issue is, which context will I place my "self" into, or, perhaps, which context is the one in which my "self" normally lives? It my be that our "selves" overlap some boundaries and we find ourselves in different spheres at the same time, an uncomfortable feeling. Thoughts?
Toggle Commented Feb 16, 2007 on God of Mission at ZOO MUSE
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Lynn, your insightful comments are deeply appreciated and very challenging. It thrills my heart (pardon my dualism here) to find a "non-professional" Jesus follower engaging at the level you are demonstrating. How I would love to be part of a community of believers of which you were part! we've both come a long way (by grace) since those early days at Voyagers!
Toggle Commented Feb 5, 2007 on "Confessions" of a Water Seeker at ZOO MUSE
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thanks, Ross, for taking time to interject some more thoughts on this. The other morning I was feeling quite overwhelmed by the simple reality that people are attracted to Jesus and that only Jesus truly satisfies. I am glad to be part of your journey.
Toggle Commented Feb 3, 2007 on Water Sources: Good and Bad at ZOO MUSE
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Ray, thanks for your picture regarding the broken fence. When the livestock escapes, the rancher is forced to go out and forcibly round them up and drive them back. However, we must never think that the spring or the well is the church/pastor (which I think you would agree with). The water is always and can only be Jesus. The picture of the spring above is from Kenya. It is called Mzima [whole] Springs. It simply gushes out of the ground (in a desert). The water originates from runoff hundreds of kms. away on Mount Kilimanjaro. Your comment, however, makes me realize that, in many churches, the pastor is the "water" and the spiritual climate of the church ebbs and flows according to the pastor's health.
Toggle Commented Feb 1, 2007 on The Fence and the Well at ZOO MUSE
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I do think we can be the fragrance of Christ which can create hunger and thirst in folks' lives by our lives, which draws them to the springs of living water.
Toggle Commented Jan 31, 2007 on The Fence and the Well at ZOO MUSE
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Scott and Lynn -- I'm traveling for the next few days, so I'll need to find time to respond to your most excellent thoughts. Thanks for taking time to engage. One further thought: there was a time when orthodoxy meant right worship. With the Enlightenment and the Reformation, it began to shift to right doctrine. When we look at the one Good Man, we see a great focus on right worship and right living. Jesus did not have a lot to say about right thinking. In fact, he re-defined and reframed much of the "right thinking" of the Pharisees. I wonder how he might reframe some of our current (or, just-past) orthodoxy. I do not fully understand what he means, but in his book "How (Not) To Speak of God," Peter Rollins writes of the importance, not of believeing the right things but of believing in the right way. I need to think more about what he means. Thanks again.
Toggle Commented Jan 8, 2007 on Thinking About Goodness at ZOO MUSE
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My own follow-on -- since God said his creation was "good" rather than "perfect," does this mean that its redemption will be to goodness (a moral/relational state) rather than perfection (a philosOphical state)? Read more about this in http://zoodad.typepad.com/my_weblog/2006/09/saved_into_the_.html
Toggle Commented Jan 8, 2007 on Thinking About Goodness at ZOO MUSE
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I have copied over my comment on my desktop. Sure wish I knew whi I can't get to the comments on my laptop. I know, God wants me to start spending more time in the office! MY FIRST QUESTION: CAN YOU PLEASE SHARE WITH ME THE STORY BEHIND YOUR USE OF THE TERM "ORDEAL." SOUNDS VERY MUCH LIKE A WORD THAT HAS BEEN CHOSEN AND THEN INVESTED WITH A GOOD DEAL OF MEANING THAT OTHERS (LIKE I) WON'T UNDERSTAND. FOR ME, YOUR DESCRIPTION IS OF PEOPLE WHO ARE INTENTIONALLY (BUT WILLINGLY AND LOVINGLY) DOING LIFE TOGETHER. WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR COMMUNITY AS HAVING A CORE OF FOLKS WHO ARE AUTHENTICALLY COMMITTED TO CORE BIBLICAL BELIEFS WHILE HAVING VERY POROUS "BOUNDARIES" ALLOWING ALL SORTS OF PEOPLE TO FLOW IN AND FEEL AT HOME, THAT THEY BELONG REGARDLESS OF THEIR CURRENT BELIEFS? AGAIN, THANKS FOR YOUR VALUABLE INPUT. RICK
Toggle Commented Dec 21, 2006 on Stumbling Into the Kingdom at ZOO MUSE
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Thanks for the push back. For all the strengths of virtual discussions, they do make it difficult to paint the larger context. Knowing you do not like analogies (or, at least, fluffy analogies), let me nonetheless suggest that there are two postures the church can and does take. We can be a circle of people maintaining contact with one another by holding hands and facing into the center of the circle. Or, we can be that same circle, holding the same hands, facing outward. Given the reality of the Western church, I do not think we need to give them any reason or recommendation to take time for God and me, or for God and one another. In the broader discussion, missional church is often used as counterpoint to maintenance church, where the vast majority of resources (energy, time, funds, etc) are spent on us, the local church. The resources spent or directed outwardly, outside the local congregation, are most often sent out to "represent" the local congregation. The missional activity which results from such resources will be engaged in by others outside the local congregation. Thus, the actual personal, hands-on, heart-on missional enggement of the local congregation is almost nil. In fact, most ministry activity even carried out inside the local congregation is not done by the members. It is done by the professionals who are hired for that purpose. Back to the issue(s) at hand. I am coming to believe that Hebrews 10:24,25 (within the broader context of 10:19-31 and Hebrews as a whole) provides an excellent snapshot of the balance I am looking for in my own life: "And let us take thought how to spur one another on to love and good works [I do not think this is meant simply or primarily about internal activitie], not abandoing our own meetings as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging each other, and even more so because you see the day drawing near." Also, Ephesians 4:1-16 provide, for me, another key biblical foundation for missional activities which flow out of the equipped saints. Unless, again, you want to simply read the passage as referring to internal, inside the congregation activities. If that is the case, then we might as well continue the process of buidling Christian hothouse sub-cultures because we can interpret everything concerning good works to be just about the household of faith. Messiah not missional???? While I am not quite sure what it is you are trying to say, if my hunch is correct, you and I might have different understandings of much of Jesus' own self-awareness in the gospel of John: "As the Father sent me, so I send you." "And the word became flesh and blood and moved into the neighborhood" (John 1:14, The Message). Jesus was all about being cross-cultural, stepping out and cross boundaries in the incarnation. Further, if God's work is not out in the world, if it is only (or even primarily) to be found in "sacred space," then I think I want out because sacred space is about as exciting to me as the thought of an eternity spent sitting on a cloud singing one more verse of "Just As I Am." Finally, I confess I am more than a little curious to hear from you what I fully believe since apparently I don't know. Actually, what I am writing right now has been simmering and cooking in my heart since the early 70s, supplemented greatly by our time in Kenya and now a concentrated year of study and dialogue. Please do share some specifics which lead you to think we are over-qualifying (over-emphasizing?) missio dei. What dangers do you see? As a final note, sometimes one needs to hammer on one issue to begin to bring an earlier extreme back closer to a biblical center.
Toggle Commented Dec 20, 2006 on Missio Dei at ZOO MUSE
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Thanks, Adam, for taking time to comment. One question from your thoughts emerges: what do we mean by "success"? Do we mean size, influence, changed lives, community impact/transformation? What is success in Kingdom terms? My problem is when the sheep simply re-distribute themselves in different pastures, depending on whose grass appears greenest at the time. I look forward to your further thoughts and questions regarding culture.
Toggle Commented Dec 20, 2006 on Missio Dei vs. Missio Mei at ZOO MUSE
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If Jesus was sent by God (i.e., on a mission of redemption and reconciliation), why did he work so hard at it? Also, two passages come to mind -- "...and [Christ] we proclaim, teaching every one with all wisdom, that we might present each one perfect [mature] in Christ. For this purpose also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me" (Col 1:28,29). "So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling, knowing that it is God who is at work in you, willing and working for his good pleasure" (Phil 2:12,13). Finally, Peter, in 2 Pe 1, having told us that the God has given us all we need for life and godliness and that we are partakers of the divine nature also tells us to diligently (make every effort) to add moral and behavioral qualities to our lives. As to your second question, I am uncertain as to what you are really asking. So, rather than waste finger motions responding to a question you might not be asking, could you clarify what it is you are saying/saking? The elements you mention are essential to the conversation, so I really do want to engage in further discussion on them.
Toggle Commented Dec 20, 2006 on A Timely Question at ZOO MUSE
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Well, David, no one can accuse you of not stating your case with vigor. I do wonder, however, if -- in face-to-face conversations on important issues -- people might occasionally have to take a step or two backward and raise their hand protectively, especially those whose verbal and rhetorical skills might be less powerful than your own. That said, let me suggest that analogies are not "truth," nor do they claim to be. Depending on a variety of factors, they can provide one (or more) insights into a larger conversation. They can be helpful to the degree that the one hearing it has experience in the subject and can picture the correlation. If, on the other hand, the analogy incorporates the use of goats' heads in some Kurdish horseback-riding take-off from rugby, I probably would miss the point. Second, we are commanded to experience something as the Body of Christ that we are referring to here as community. While the end result is commanded (i.e., community), the actual steps towards the development of said community are often left to us as creative beings. Thus, in the case of Frost's comments, he is suggesting that community (like plowing a straight furrow) may be better established if one's eyes are on something other than just "develop community." That does not mean his views are exclusive or even the best. They are simply one statement in a much larger conversation. Also, and here is the danger of removing quotes from their larger context, the entire discussion here presupposes a context of engagement in Kingdom activities. I don't think I (or Chris or Michael) were stating this principle as a carte blanche reason to get a sugar high and then play slalom through contruction cones. Rather, in the context of Kingdom people with a heart for God, focusing on the right thing (the mission, the Kingdom activity in view) creates positive by-products. Further, none of this is to say that simply focusing on some cause in the distance will, in and of itself, create community. The cause is but one element (in a broader set of activities) which can lead to, in this case, community. As I stated in my opening comment, I have been in contexts where the community I hoped for did not emerge because we sat around somehow obeying the command to build and enjoy community. it was only as we engaged in other sorts of Kingdom activities that community began to emerge. For example, I had a teammate in Kenya who completely disagreed with me on what "team" (community) should look like. Yet, when (as a team) we engaged in weeks of significant prayer, one of the blessed outcomes (in addition to increased ministry effectiveness) was a deeper sense of mutual commitment and care (community). Interestingly, for what it is worth, we do see all sorts of short-term communities being built all the time, for good or for bad. Much of today's TV fare creates short-term, mini-communities: e.g., the Survivor shows, The Great Race, the UK version of Deal or No Deal (which uses real people who build an incredible sense of community in the weeks they are thrown together by the show). I find it a most intereesting insight into humanity to watch 22 people from incredibly diverse backgrounds hang together for several weeks simply because they all want to win some money. In the process, many of them build and experience they had no idea or intention of: community. People who would have no reason to connect with each other are thrown together around some theme or activity. Rarely does such an experience not build some level of community, even if that community is unhealthy and dysfunctional (e.g., Big Brother). As you point out, those of us who enter into the eternal community of the Triune God have a level of resource, purpose and divine command driving us toward a community the likes of which the world rarely sees. I guess this is why unity is so important to Jesus (John 17 prayer) and Paul (Ephesians 4:1-16) as well as other writers of Scripture. Finally, I disagree that we can have community in a large church/group (though I guess we really need to define what each of us means by community. Hmmm!). Community, I think, requires intimacy, something not normally (ever?) available in large groups where few, if any, know everyone. Yet, and this is the key, a large, healthy church/group can and should be home to a number of healthy, mutually-serving and mutually-interacting communities. Nuff said for now. Over to you.
Toggle Commented Dec 20, 2006 on Stumbling Into the Kingdom at ZOO MUSE
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Lynn, thanks for sharing your heart with us. I long for the same kind of foretaste you describe. I think Jesus means for us to have this, for our benefit as well as for the benefit the not-yet Christians who can be drawn to the fragrance of Jesus in such people. In order to understand some of the terminology, I encourage you to read Chris' blog entry: http://secondtimothytwo.blogspot.com/2006_08_01_archive.html Blessings on you and your family. Rick
Toggle Commented Dec 11, 2006 on No "Entry-Level" Christians at ZOO MUSE
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D. in Phoenix... Welcome to the land of harsh realities, a land with which I know you are already aware! We need "Jesus with skin on" people and "Jesus with skin on" communities. I know these kinds of folks are out there. I just want to find some more. Thanks for your phone call. I look forward to further interaction.
Toggle Commented Dec 11, 2006 on The Best Christian Someone Knows at ZOO MUSE
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Chris, thanks for the extended descriptions and examples from real life. What you described as the experience in your ecclesia is that for which my own heart longs. My wife and I have had times like that, though they have occurred in transient communities, people (often old friends) with whom we gather periodically and can share safely and with great compassion. You have described the possibility for orphans to get out and join an ecclesia. You seem to think it is impossible/inmprobable for orphanages to become ecclesia. Sadly, I think I am in complete agreement with you. Not to sound too dumb, but DNA runs DEEP! DNA cannot change unless there is an incredible force brought to bear on it, a force most orphans want to avoid. Often this force is suffering, an experience most seek to work around or explain away. I will likely find myself working mostly with orphanages in England, groups seeking a hybrid faith which allows for entry level living while encouraging true organice growth. Do pray with/for us as we seek genuine ecclesia rather than modified and hybrid orphanages filled with contented orphans! Thanks for your insights and willingness to share from your experiences.
Toggle Commented Dec 11, 2006 on No "Entry-Level" Christians at ZOO MUSE
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Your comments raise a question or two or three in my mind. Is it possible for long-term "orphans" to become ecclesia? How does one change the basic DNA of an orphan? How many ecclesia does it take to change a community from an orphanage to an ecclesia? Where did the original members of your community come from? Straight from not being followers of Jesus to ecclesia, or via the orphanage? If the latter, how did they make the transition? Yes, my wife and I have been on the road since 17 November: visiting family, seeing friends, speaking to missions committees. This a.m. I am speaking in a local congregation near Los Angeles. Tomorrow, thankfully, we head back to England. We'll miss our kids but be rejoicing to be back home. I'd love to hear more about the beginnings and development of your community. Blessings to you from on high today. Rick
Toggle Commented Dec 10, 2006 on No "Entry-Level" Christians at ZOO MUSE
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